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Small-scale mining in Ghana: The government and the galamsey

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  • Teschner, Benjamin A.

Abstract

This paper argues that the current formalization system for small-scale gold miners in Ghana has been undermined and the small-scale mining laws no longer capture the reality of the sector’s activities. The paper will examine the small-scale mining system and shows that registered and unregistered actors operate not only in parallel but are actually intertwined and highly dependent on one another. The paper shows that the perceived dichotomy of formal and informal actors in the sector does not actually exist. The sector has instead evolved into a highly intertwined group of semi-formal sectors operating with varying degrees of legal registrations. The paper concludes that political leniency and law enforcement corruption has resulted in a booming small-scale gold system under poor government control. The paper recommends that politicians move to enact reforms to regularize the small-scale mining sector and curtail ubiquitous environmental and occupational safety problems. Anti-corruption initiatives and law enforcement reforms are the most urgent. However, reforming the laws is also necessary to capture and regulate the technological innovations the sector is currently using.

Suggested Citation

  • Teschner, Benjamin A., 2012. "Small-scale mining in Ghana: The government and the galamsey," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 308-314.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:3:p:308-314
    DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2012.02.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:ilo:ilowps:366222 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Tschakert, Petra, 2009. "Recognizing and nurturing artisanal mining as a viable livelihood," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 24-31.
    3. Amankwah, R.K. & Anim-Sackey, C., 2003. "Strategies for sustainable development of the small-scale gold and diamond mining industry of Ghana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(3-4), pages 131-138.
    4. Blunch, Niels-Hugo & Canagarajah, Sudharshan & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2001. "The informal sector revisited : a synthesis across space and time," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 23308, The World Bank.
    5. Ayee, Joseph & Soreide, Tina & Shukla, G. P. & Le, Tuan Minh, 2011. "Political economy of the mining sector in Ghana," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5730, The World Bank.
    6. Walle, Manfred. & Jennings, Norman., 2001. "Safety & health in small-scale surface mines : a handbook," ILO Working Papers 993662223402676, International Labour Organization.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Boris Verbrugge, 2015. "The Economic Logic of Persistent Informality: Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in the Southern Philippines," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 46(5), pages 1023-1046, September.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:11:p:1976-:d:116863 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Teschner, Benjamin, 2013. "How you start matters: A comparison of Gold Fields' Tarkwa and Damang Mines and their divergent relationships with local small-scale miners in Ghana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 332-340.
    4. Laing, Timothy, 2015. "Rights to the forest, REDD+ and elections: Mining in Guyana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(P2), pages 250-261.
    5. Tschakert, Petra, 2016. "Shifting Discourses of Vilification and the Taming of Unruly Mining Landscapes in Ghana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 123-132.
    6. Hirons, Mark, 2014. "Shifting sand, shifting livelihoods? Reflections on a coastal gold rush in Ghana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 83-89.
    7. Owusu, Obed & Wireko, Ishmael & Mensah, Albert Kobina, 2016. "The performance of the mining sector in Ghana: A decomposition analysis of the relative contribution of price and output to revenue growth," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 214-223.
    8. Saldarriaga-Isaza, Adrián & Villegas-Palacio, Clara & Arango, Santiago, 2013. "The public good dilemma of a non-renewable common resource: A look at the facts of artisanal gold mining," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 224-232.
    9. Smith, Nicole M. & Smith, Jessica M. & John, Zira Q. & Teschner, Benjamin A., 2017. "Promises and perceptions in the Guianas: The making of an artisanal and small-scale mining reserve," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 49-56.
    10. Gabriel Botchwey & Gordon Crawford & Nicholas Loubere & Jixia Lu, 2018. "South-South labour migration and the impact of the informal China-Ghana gold rush 2008–13," WIDER Working Paper Series 016, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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